Food for Breastfeeding Women
Breastfeeding diet is as important as pregnancy diet. Just like during pregnancy period during lactation also what you eat will influence the baby’s health and development. Some believe that while breastfeeding women should follow a strict diet, while others believe that there is no need for food restrictions. So, which one is correct and how important is diet for breastfeeding mothers? Is it possible to increase milk supply with food you eat? You can find answers to these questions after reading this article.
How should be a diet for breastfeeding women?
In the days after birth, breastfeeding and diet are crucial for lactating women since they need to eat more calories. While they can do without complex carbohydrates and fats from food, it is important to get enough protein on the daily menu.
An exclusively breastfeeding mother should be fed a healthy and nutritious diet. A few restrictions may apply to foods and beverages, but this depends on the food culture of each country.
There is no reason for women who breastfeed to follow a restrictive diet or avoid some foods that are part of their usual diet. In fact, they need more nutrients since they are providing more calories to the baby without consuming them.
In general, a diet of women who breastfeeds should be based on a variety of cereals and vegetables, adequate amounts of fruit and enough dairy products or foods rich in calcium. Moreover, it must contain a balanced proportion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Main rules for breastfeeding mothers
Giving birth is a difficult task that demands from women maximum strength, energy and concentration. Therefore, she needs more calories and nutritious food to recover her health and strength. To meet the nutritional needs breastfeeding woman has to combine healthy diet with vitamin supply. Common breastfeeding problems like poor lactation can be due to deficiency of necessary nutrients.
Here are the main things you should keep in mind:
1. Eat at least five portions of variety food daily. Breastfeeding women usually get hungry faster, even faster than pregnant women.
2. Food rich in fiber like wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals and beans helps with bowel movement and constipation problems that occur after giving birth.
3. Include dairy products to your diet, as they are good source of calcium.
4. Drink more water. After breastfeeding body faster gets dehydrated. During lactation woman has to drink more fluids than usual, this is also important to increase milk supply.
5. Eat fewer sweets. Sometimes when mother eats sweets like chocolate or cake, after feeding the baby there might appear small red spots on baby’s face. This is how baby’s body reacts to the food it didn’t like. However, some mothers eat a lot of sweets and do not face such kind of problem while breastfeeding. This is because each organism is individual.
6. Consume less caffeine for baby’s good sleep. Caffeine passes from mother to baby through breast milk and in excessed amount it may negatively influence on baby. Usually mothers of infants sleep less and to stay vigorous consume more caffeine. Don’t forget that baby may suffer from this; poor sleeping, irritability and jitteriness are examples that can come after high amount of caffeine.
7. Some foods may cause colic and reflux in baby. Every child is different and some infants may have colic and reflux after breastfeeding while others not. Colic happens only during first 2-3 months until baby’s body gets used to different meals.
Foods for increasing milk supply
When a mother who is breastfeeding a baby hears that foods can increase breast milk, she will be tempted to eat anything. But there are many things to consider when taking food for increasing breast milk.
First of all, stress should be eliminated from the life of the lactating mother. Despite how much food breastfeeding women eat, stress and anxiety may reduce milk supply. The body produces stress hormones in response to stress, and when the production volume of stress hormone is increased in the body for a long time, it can reduce breastfeeding.
Then, a lactating mother should have enough amount of vitamin A in her diet. Vitamin A is necessary so that it can produce beta-carotene in the body. Beta-carotene, which is a kind of carotenoid, can produce vitamin A but also is a prerequisite for producing the lactation hormone.
There are many foods to increase breast milk, but this is what you need the most.
1. Nuts and Seeds
This food group has a lot of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B complex, C and E, which promote good health for nursing mothers. Nuts and seeds also contain protein and healthy fats, which help prevent weak bones among nursing mothers.
Calcium is vital for enhancing the production of breast milk. To get enough calcium, you should eat foods such as yogurt, cereals and green vegetables. It is also important to drink plenty of water when eating these foods. If you do not like drinking water, you can add calcium powder to your food.
3. Amino Acids
Foods such as legumes and beans are rich in amino acids, which help boost the production of breast milk. These foods also contain B vitamins which are essential for maintaining good health among nursing mothers.
4. Foods containing Choline
Choline is a nutrient that helps improve memory functions. The energy boost provided by choline also helps nursing mothers to stay healthy and active. You can get an adequate amount of choline from eggs, milk, cheese and meat.
5. What’s more
Other foods to increase breast milk are poultry, vegetables, whole grains, sugar substitutes, fruits and avoiding alcohol.